Monday, 15 September 2014

#Microblog Mondays- Making Friends

I am starting to make friends here in my new hometown.

Friends who didn't know me before my loss.
Friends who meet me and see a Mother of  two little girls.
Friends who don't know about my struggles with infertility.
Friends who want to spend time with me even after they know my story.

I know it will be a long time before I have the kind of network I had back in London, but it feels good to run into a familiar face every now and again.

It makes me feel a bit less lonely.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A Better New Normal

I'm still here. I know it's been a while since I've written anything here. But I'm still here.

Parenting two living children is overwhelming and I am still adjusting to My New Normal.

This new normal is so much better than the new normal I was adjusting to when I first started this blog. Back then, I was trying to process a tragic loss. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to manage life with two living  children. A struggle that all parents with more than one child deal with.

For once, I'm normal. Not just a BLM, but a normal Mom with normal Mom problems and issues. 

I love it, but it takes up all my time.

I want to share this new life with all of you, but I haven't been able to figure out how to find the time. When I do have the time I'm usually trying to clean up the mess that is my house these days or I'm trying to take a nap.

I promise to get better at updating soon.

Until then, just know that I am happy. My kids (love being able to say that in plural) are happy. And that life is good.

Very hectic and busy.... but good.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Happy 4th Birthday In Heaven

I'm a day late on this and even though I have the best excuse in the world,,,,, new baby and house guests,,, I feel guilty.

Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you every day. Your sisters don't really understand you yet, but we talk about you all the time. Thank you for looking out for them and keeping them safe.

We bought you a balloon but your sister Frostina wants to play with it, so we will probably send it to you this weekend.

We wish you were here with us.

Love,
Mommy, Daddy, Frostina, and Olea

Monday, 4 August 2014

(In)Complete

Apologies for the silence but life has been a bit crazy since Baby Olea's arrival. I have my parents here to help which is wonderful, but it leaves very little alone time and therefore very little time to update this space.

Life with two living children is surreal. There is always someone who needs attention and very little downtime for anyone. And that's with 3 adults around. I can only imagine what it will be like when it's just The Hubby and me. I won't even allow myself to think about those days when The Hubby travels and it's just me and the girls. My first time is coming up sooner than I want to think about so I'll push that aside for now.

I feel like a whole phase in my life is over now. For the past 11 years I have either been trying to conceive, pregnant, grieving, doing fertility treatments, or recovering from a pregnancy. So knowing that we are done with all of that feels like an end of an era.... and it is.

It's strange to be able to say, "My girls." That's right,,, I have two living girls. Something I never thought I would have.

When we first lost my son, The Hubby said we were done having children. His wounded heart figured the only way to escape the pain was to never try for another child ever again. So there was a moment in time where I thought we would never parent living children.

Now, our family is complete, and yet incomplete. I feel a joy I never thought I'd feel and still there is a sorrow. A sorrow for the little boy we will never see grow up with his sisters.

Complete and yet very incomplete. And yet somehow I feel so very blessed and happy and sad all at the same time.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Baby Olea Is Here

My doctors were sure I would make it until my scheduled c-section date at 39 weeks but Baby Olea had other plans. My water broke on Monday morning and she was born that afternoon.

I am overjoyed and super tired and now she's crying so I will have to post more later. But she is here and she is healthy. Same birth weight as Frostina so I guess I just make small babies.

Hooray for rainbow baby number two!

Monday, 7 July 2014

4th Of July Fun- First ER Trip As A Parent

It was bound to happen. In a lot of ways I'm amazed it took 2 years, but we finally hit a milestone in parenting with Frostina,,, a trip to the emergency room.

What is it with my family? Every time I'm in my third trimester, someone decides they aren't getting enough attention and ends up in the ER? If you've been a long time reader you may remember The Hubby and "The heart attack that turned out not to be a heart attack." Well this time Frostina decided it was her turn.


It all started with an innocent trip to the furniture store. The Hubby wants to buy some outdoor furniture so off we went to take advantage of the holiday sales. Frostina has always been easy to shop with. She sticks close to me and never runs away while we're in a store. So I wasn't worried about her behavior at all,,, big mistake on my part.

You see, this very clever toddler can smell that Mommy is too big and tired to give a good chase. She also knows that Daddy is a very soft touch. Combine the two of these things and you have typical 2 year old chaos in the store. My normally well behaved angel was wild. She was dashing around climbing up on every couch and chair she could find and then jumping around on each one.

It was super fun, I know this because you could hear her laughing from across the store. I know this because of course preggo had to pee the moment we walked in and I had no problem finding them once I was done. I tried telling her to stop but she was completely ignoring me. Running around, hiding behind things and generally mocking me. So I told her she had to hold Mommy's hand.

This was fine for about a minute but then she wanted her freedom. She did what I like to call the toddler drop and roll to try and free herself from my grasp. But I was ready for her and didn't let go. I let her lay on the ground for a minute and then scooped her up and announced that we were leaving the store since she couldn't behave.

She started crying loudly which I figured was because she could no longer run around like a wild beast. I carried her to the car feeling quite proud of myself for setting limits and sticking to them. Go me for having discipline and not letting her act up in a store.

Once we got to the car and I tried putting her into her car seat I knew something wasn't right. As I was moving her arms to strap her in she got this really funny look on her face and started whimpering. Then the whimper turned into a cry and she was holding her wrist. I convince myself that I've broken her wrist by holding on too hard and start to feel like the worst Mommy in the world.

We drove home and I gave her some Baby Advil and tried to feed her lunch. She refused to move the hand and would only eat with the other one. We debated what to do but since it was nap time we let her sleep a bit to see if she would feel better afterwards. An hour later she woke up crying and still refusing to move her arm.

So off we went to the children's ER,, on the 4th of July. Hooray!

Luckily the place was almost deserted and we were seen within 5 minutes. I get quizzed on what happened and I am convinced they will listen to my story and notify social services that I've abused my child. I notice she has a few bruises on her forehead and chin and figure it's just a matter of time before the nice smiley lady comes in to take my child away. I try to stay calm and The Hubby does too.

A few minutes later the doctor comes in and says she wants to take a look. She has Frostina sit on The Hubby's lap facing her. We tried this on mine but there's not much room left these days with the huge bump. Next thing I know she is massaging and then pulling on Frostina's arm. I freak out and start crying! Frostina freaks out and starts crying. The Hubby freaks out and starts crying.

Then it's done and the doctor hands Frostina a Popsicle which she reaches for and grabs with the injured hand. The same hand she has refused to move for hours. The doctor says she had nursemaid's elbow which apparently is very common in under 4's. She says it's popped back in now but to hang out for a little while just to make sure. She also hands Frostina a cute white stuffed bear with a T-shirt that has the name of the hospital on it.

Very cute, but hopefully this will be the only one we get.

Frostina is now a happy camper. She's eating her Popsicle and saying, "I love Popsicle." She is also feeding her new bear Popsicle. The transformation was amazing. One minute she's crying hysterically, clinging to me and refusing to move her arm. The next minute she is asking to sit on the hospital bed and, "Sleep pillow."

Needless to say, The Hubby and were still shell shocked. But Frostina was as happy as could be.

We were in and out of there in an hour and 15 minutes which has to be some kind of emergency room record. But it's not exactly how I wanted to spend my first 4th of July back in America.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Flash.... Backs

2010- The world stops. She can hear her husband sobbing inconsolably. He is screaming, "No, no. Do something. Can't you save him?" She can hear his wails but is completely numb. She feels nothing.

Flash

2014- I am driving to my 36 (almost) week scan. Frostina is with a sitter and The Hubby is out of town. I am blasting the radio and singing along.

Flash


2010- She and her husband are sitting in the room waiting for the doctor to come in and do her ultrasound. While they are grateful that they have a doctor to do all their scans, it's annoying when he runs late as he is prone to do. They have already waited over 30 minutes just to get in the room and now they are waiting again. She is annoyed because she worries that the smoothie she drank to wake the baby up will "wear off" before the scan finally starts.

Flash

2014- It's my 36 week scan. A huge milestone for me. In my first pregnancy it's where things all fell apart. A fact that I am doing my best to repress. After all, I decided to try and focus on the good things and not the fear this time around. I turn the radio up and sing a little louder.

Flash

2010- She is 36 weeks pregnant with her miracle baby. There were lots of worries along the way but once they got the good results at their 20 week scan she has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of their much wanted baby boy. They are all clear.

The day is hectic. Her Hubby has invited a group of his employees over for dinner because they are all in town for a meeting. He has escaped this meeting for the scan but has to rush back once it's over. The plan is to have the scan; meet with her OB to discuss the results; and then he goes back to work and she goes home to finish cooking the chili and tidying up the house before everyone arrives. So this delay for the scan is quite annoying.

Finally he goes out to see what the delay is. After all, they both have a very busy day and they have waited long enough. The doctor comes in a few minutes later full of apologies and excuses for his tardiness. He readies the machine and begins the scan.

The two of them look to the screen to see their little boy.

He begins to focus on the head and starts to take measurements, just like normal. But then there is a hesitation. She notices but brushes it off. He backs up the scan and starts again. This time looking at the head from a different angle, and then another. Then he quickly switches views to one she isn't familiar with. His tone changes and he starts asking her questions.

Flash

2014- She knows what's coming next. This memory has been creeping up on her for weeks. You can repress these things but somehow they have a way of catching up to you. She can feel the tears well up in her eyes as she drives down the Florida Turnpike.

Flash

2010- When was the last time you felt the baby move? The answer was an hour ago, just after the smoothie. She finds out later that this couldn't possibly be true. He goes on to ask if there has been a decrease in movement lately. The answer was, "Of course because we all know they run out of room at the end."

Flash

2014- The tears are now flowing. Turning up the radio and singing loudly doesn't deter them.

Flash

2010- She can't figure out why he is asking these questions while flicking the ultrasound machine from one body part to another. He wants to know exactly when she noticed a decrease in movement. He asks several ways before she finally becomes alarmed. "Why do you want to know this?" she finally asks.

Silence.

Flash

2014- Stop thinking about this. Think about something else.

Flash

2010- "Why do you want to know this?" she asks. It's at this point that she feels her hubby gripping her hand very tightly... though she takes no notice.

Pause

"Why are you asking me this?" she asks again. This time she is starting to sense that all is not well.

"I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat."

Flash

2014- Seriously, why are you going there? You need to stop. You are driving. You promised yourself that you wouldn't do this to yourself this pregnancy. Things are going so much better this time. You have a diagnosis, you have medication, and this baby is doing much better than your son or Frostina. You need to snap out of it. NOW!

Flash

2010- The world stops. She can hear her husband sobbing inconsolably. He is screaming, "No, no. Do something. Can't you save him?" She can hear his wails but is completely numb. She feels nothing.

It's pandemonium at this point. The girl assisting the scan leaves the room. Shortly after that, their OB enters the room to confirm the devastating news. There are no signs of life, their baby is dead. Based on what they can see, he has been gone for at least a week.

Flash

2014- To this day I still can't belive I didn't know. I still can't believe that I thought I could feel him moving... even after I knew he was gone.

It's raining outside now, a reflection of my inner mood. But again it's time to snap out of it. I promised myself I would.

Flash

2010- Phone calls have to be made. She calls her parents in California and wakes them up. She has lost track of time and has no idea what time it is for them. Her Hubby has to call his employees to tell them he won't be back for the rest of the day, and that the BBQ and chili dinner are off. They want to know why and of course he has to tell them. 

More sobs and wails from her Husband, but she is still completely numb. The truth won't hit her for hours, but when it does it will feel like a building falling on her.

Flash

2014- Ok, enough already. I'm serious... it's time to snap out of it. You have to drive in the rain and you don't want to get into an accident now do you?

So I wipe my tears and pull myself together. It's been a very long time since I've had any flashbacks and I can't say I miss them.

This whole episode happened to me last week and it's taken this long for me to be able to write about it. I swear, just about the time I think I've got my grief under control it comes back to let me know I don't. I read a post earlier this week that Brooke wrote about grief coming to visit when you least expect it. Well I'm here to testify that grief is truly it's own entity and it comes to visit on it's schedule, not yours. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, it's always just around the corner.


Monday, 16 June 2014

The Longest Move Ever

We are officially in our new home.

It's been a long and painful process.

One international move followed by 2 months living in a temp apartment. Then a second move into this beautiful house. It really is a beautiful house, though at the moment it's a total wreck.

The move had it's hitches of course. There were the painters who took longer than promised so they were there on move in day,,,, that's always fun. There were the world's laziest movers who didn't want to have to put our beds together. They even went to far as to complain they didn't have tools.... so after hubby went off on them they drove to Home Depot to get some. Beds got put together but I'm still turning around all the knobs and have a small TV stand to assemble. All this with a full service move?

There was the satellite TV installer who came just before the rainstorm on Friday afternoon so we have no TV. Not a huge problem since we have so much unpacking to do but still a hitch. Oh, and the internet isn't working either. No idea why because usually self-install is a breeze. This time though I had to call repair and they couldn't set it up remotely either so a tech should be on the way today to fix it. Ah, the joys of moving.

Oh, and there's the whole, "I'm 34 weeks pregnant" thing which means I'm pretty much useless when it comes to helping like I want to. Though that didn't stop me from putting the drawers and shelves back into the huge Ikea wardrobes that the movers refused to do. The Hubby was  not pleased with me for doing that one, but he's not exactly handy so if I didn't do it it wouldn't' get done.

I am doing my best to help unpack boxes but it's not easy when bending down to the ground and getting back up again is such a struggle. I'm sore and tired and have to work in short bursts before stopping to take breaks. As a result, the  majority of the work falls to The Hubby and I am feeling very very guilty. He is tired and sore and there is still lots left to do.

Have I mentioned that we are not done with this move just yet? Oh no.

You see, once upon a time we lived in California in a house. That house had lots of stuff in it. Too much stuff to take to London with us. That stuff has been sitting in storage for the past 8 and a half years. That stuff is on it's way to Florida and will arrive on Wednesday. So we get to do this whole lovely process all over again. Lovely.


Frostina is in heaven though. It's like Christmas morning for her. Every box I unpack that has her stuff is greeted with oohs and aahhs. She was so happy when she saw her bed she wanted to get in it immediately. In fact, this was the first time ever that she spent the night in a new place in her own bed. Normally it takes a couple of days sleeping with us for her to adjust to a new room.

I am so ready to be settled in, this move feels like it's taking forever..... and I have a baby due in a few weeks. Yikes!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Heartbreaking Choice- What If It Were You?

I read an amazing post over at Still Standing today. It was written by Tova Gold a fellow Baby Loss Mom. The subject is one that for some reason isn't talked about as much in the loss community; the termination of a pregnancy for medical reasons. It was a moving insight into the experience of hearing that your baby has a condition that won't be compatible with life and the choices you are forced to make in the aftermath.

What touched me the most was that there were photos and names of 80 women (and their babies) who have found themselves in the same situation as Tova. This piece was written from the heart and is so well done that I won't try and recap it here. You can click the link above to read it for yourself.

When I finished the article I was moved almost to tears. Then I started reading the comments and my blood began to boil. What I saw mixed in with the words of condolence and support was so ugly I couldn't believe it. Were people actually attacking these women for the situation they found themselves in? Were people actually going to criticize and judge women who have lost their children? Much to my dismay they were and I found the whole thing very unsettling.

In my mind, the only difference between what these women went through and what I did was that they had advanced notice. I didn't know anything was wrong until it was too late. They knew in advance that their baby would die and were faced with an impossible decision. Do you terminate now? Or do you carry to term knowing that your baby will either not make it or will die at or shortly after birth? That's not a choice I would want to have to make.

But these women found themselves faced with this very dilemma. A heartbreaking choice needed to be made. To go about something like this you may rely on your faith or you may go based purely on your emotions. There are many layers and dimensions to either choice. I would imagine that many hours of reflection and tears have been poured into each and every decision. Neither path leads to a happy ending.

I liken it to that game where you choose between two horrible things and say which one you would want. Like would you want to chop your arm off or let it fall of by itself? Is there really a good option? Of course not. Either way you lose your arm and neither way sounds particularly pleasant.

Somehow, not unsurprisingly, matters like this get tied to the pro-choice/pro-life debate. I am not here to debate that issue but I will say this; there is no life at the end of this decision. In the end you get a dead baby, period! It's just a matter of how it happens.

So to read comments where people are condemning women for choosing to terminate a pregnancy where there is no chance of a living baby makes me sick to my stomach. Who are these people to tell someone that they should carry a pregnancy to term that they know is doomed? For that matter, who are these people to tell women who choose to carry to term that they are being foolish or causing their babies undue suffering?

Who are these people to not offer these women the same sympathy that people who suffer a stillbirth or neonatal death get? Just because we didn't know ahead of time doesn't make our loss any more worthy of condolence. Just because these women did know doesn't mean they deserve to be judged on the decision they made. It's not like they wanted to have to make it.

So for all of you who sit in judgement I challenge you. Put yourself in their shoes. I mean it. Really allow yourselves to go there. To go to that horrible place where you have just been told that your unborn child has no chance of viability outside the womb. Put yourself in that mindset and then tell me what you would do. Then tell me how it would feel to have people judge you for it.




Monday, 26 May 2014

Hospital Tour, Frostina Style

The Hubby and I went on a tour of the new hospital where we will be having Baby Olea. It was quite surreal. This huge hospital is such a contrast to the small, private, Women and Children's Hospital in London where we had our son and Frostina. It's absolutely massive. The good thing (and one of the reasons I picked it) is that it is attached to one of the top Children's Hospitals in the state and has a level 4 NICU. It's definitely the place to be if you have a high risk pregnancy so I feel very secure.

It's also very American which still feels foreign to me. I know, I know, I'm American,,, but I've had 2 babies in England and 0 babies here and it's a different experience. Not bad, just different. Overall I am happy with the hospital and it's facilities. Though I'm not sure how I feel about their policy to encourage rooming in. After a c-section I know I will really need my sleep at night. So I think I will still request they take Baby Olea to the nursery at night. Hopefully I won't get too many dirty looks from the nurses about that.

Did you know they don't swaddle babies anymore? When did that happen? At the tour they said to only swaddle babies that are diagnosed with colic. We didn't swaddle Frostina for long with a normal swaddling blanket because The Hubby was a rubbish swaddler. But we did buy these zip up swaddling blankets that we used instead. Without it, Frostina used to swing her arms around and wake herself up. So I think I will still use those with Baby Olea (see how I'm assuming she will come home with us alive and healthy?)

We brought Frostina with us and that was quite an experience. First of all, she insisted on bringing Winnie the Pooh. Unfortunately, this particular Pooh Bear is huge and too big for her to carry for long. He ended up getting dropped on the ground in the parking garage and on the hospital floor. I immediately start thinking about all the germs that are now all over Mr Pooh. So who ends up carrying him, me of course.When we got home it was straight into the washer and a hot water cycle.

She ran around the auditorium during the information session making sure everyone knew she was there. She climbed in and out of every empty chair she could find. She found both clocks in the room and shouted, "Clock, clock, tick tock, tick tock," in front of each of them. She spotted all the lights which she also announced to the room. I won't even get into the balloon that she saw way up high in the ceiling which caused quite a dialogue of, "Da boon flying, da boon flying." Poor Hubby barely got to hear what the woman was talking about because he was so busy chasing her around.

When the tour started she began her own narration about various things she saw along the way like doors, lights, balloons (in the gift shop), and of course all the clocks. She also wanted to know what every noise was, and you know there are lots of noises in a hospital.

One fun game she played was getting behind and then running back to us saying, "Too fast, too fast." The hubby and I joked at one point that this was what everyone was in for in 2 years time. Everyone on the tour seemed quite entertained by her. The woman from the hospital told me I will definitely have my hands full when the new baby comes.

If she had been British I would have immediately interpreted this as a judgement on Frostina's behaviour, but since she was American I didn't take it badly. Of course there were two other older siblings on the tour who were quiet and stayed with their parents. You wouldn't even have known they were there. But not my Frostina. She made sure her presence was known by all.

Because that's how Frostina rolls!